Mushroom Exhibit

Mushroom exhibit is open in Kennett Square!

Mushroom ExhibitThere are also mushroom treats for sale and sampling.
By Chris Barber – The Kennett Paper

The crowds that arrive in Kennett Square for the monthly first Friday art strolls will have more to savor this week than great paintings and photographs.

Kathi Lafferty, owner-operator of The Mushroom Cap at 114 W. State Street, has assembled artifacts and paraphernalia from the mushroom industry through the decades and has them on display at a new exhibit at the back of her store.

Lafferty contacted local mushroom growers and inquired whether they have any relics they are willing to share with her. Apparently her efforts paid off, because she has gathered baseball caps with company insignias, product labels, growing implements, charts and paintings. She also has a miniature model of the inside of a mushroom house complete with tiny model pickers and even tinier model baskets.

She has a short video, as well, that runs in the corner of the room explaining how the crop is produced. Since Lafferty conceived of the idea, she has been working with Phillips Mushroom Co. Manager Jim Angelucci to breathe new life into parts of the old Mushroom Museum that the company operated along Baltimore Pike in East Marlborough Township for many years until it closed. Using many of those old pieces in her exhibit, she has added many of her own features as well. One of those is a collage of packing room scene paintings by local artist Dennis Minch.

Another feature is a life-size photograph of a mushroom house that is pasted inside a closet door. Visitors will open the door and see what it looks like to view an aisle beside the beds of growing mushrooms.

Word of the project has spread and visitors have stopped in to take a look. Lafferty showed the entries to guest book she keeps on the site. In it people have signed in from as far away as Minnesota and California, not to mention France. “Look how far away they’ve come from,” she said.

Lafferty has also moved her refrigeration unit into the mushroom exhibit, where it holds whites, portabellas and other exotics for sale. She has also developed a line of preserved treats including mushroom salad, marinated mushrooms and a mushroom pate. There’s also a pasta sauce that she has bottled that tastes, she says, just like the sauce her grandmother used to make.